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How to Deceive a Duke - Lecia Cornwall *May contain spoilers!*First, let me say, I opened this book with no idea if I would like it or not. I had heard of this author, but hadn't encountered anyone who had read her before or seen much discussion in my circle of blogs, so I was able to start reading with any expectations about it. (I hear some people scoffing at this, but it's true. How many books do you open with preconceived notions about the author or previous books in the series?) So I got to start a book from a frame of mind that allowed me to judge a book without any emotional involvement. Needless to say, I was really excited. Margeurite Lynton's family is in trouble. Her father's death has left them penniless and on the verge of losing their home. Rescue comes in the form of the Dowager Duchess of Temberlay, who offers marriage to Meg's sister on behalf of her grandson Nicholas, the current duke. When the sister runs off, Meg steps in her place and marries the duke, securing her family's safety. However, when the duke discovers her deceptions, he vows to make Meg pay in the most seductive of ways. I was of two minds about this book--enjoyment and disappointment. From the opening scene featuring a strict duchess, a high maintenance young woman and her calmer, older sister, I was sucked into the story. The tension among them all: wow! And then Nick entered the story and I was even more intrigued. Was he or wasn't he a rake? How did Meg feel about him? What was the tension that kept pulling between him and his grandmother? I kept turning pages to get answers and to see what each character would do next. I no longer paid attention to grammar and editing or reviewing plot; I just enjoyed the story. Then I got toward the end of the book, around chapter 35. I could almost hear tires squealing as I read the scene where Meg and Nick's grandmother are having a "discussion". Meg lost the spirit that carried her through the first part of the book and became a weenie (not a technical term, but appropriate). She gives in to Nick's grandmother's demands after being so determined against her background and her family. She also starts acting jealous, ranting and making outrageous accusations. What happened to the calm and practical woman who stepped up and took control of her family after her father's death? I will admit there were one or two scenes where the circumstances between her husband and another woman were suspicious. Instead of confronting him and communicating, she acts like a toddler and throws things, stomps her feet and yells at him. Then she ignores him and runs away. She runs away! At this point, I don't blame Nick for leaving her alone; I would have wanted to avoid that mess, too! Even the mysterious circumstances surrounding Nick's brother's death that was woven throughout the story fell flat at the end. The build up with the secondary characters, Meg's father, and the valet made it seem like it was a really big deal. This "big deal" had to be big to make Nick's grandmother blackmail him, give Nick a blackened reputation and make his brother's last words a curse upon Nick's head, right? Wrong. The actuality was no where near the build up and didn't really make sense to me. I read it twice and still didn't quite understand it. I can't get specific without spoiling it and it has more impact if you see the resolution yourself. There were other parts that bothered me in this story. For instance Meg's sister Rose's sudden appearance with a suitor. She just shows up, pregnant and under the care of another family, and everyone is okay with this? Or Meg's battlefield rescue; where she hightails it to Brussels, during a war, to show her love for her husband. And then, of course, she goes onto a battlefield to search among the dead and dying to look for him...Really?! However, these instances didn't bother me as much as the one discussed previously. With the story being 3/4 right followed by 1/4 wrong, I hesitate to say if I will read this author again. It might have been better if I had never experienced the joy of the first part; it is less disappointing to start off not impressed than it is to be impressed and then plummet into disappointment. Again, let me state there was nothing wrong (that I noticed anyway) with grammar, editing or the flow of the writing. My problem was with the wonderful start and engaging characters that morphed into shadows of their original potential and a story line that felt rushed and unsatisfying. If I decide to try this author again, I may ask someone I trust in to read it first and tell me how it ends to be on the safe side. This book had potential, but the ending chapters bumped my opinion of this book down considerably. *I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*